Schingler v. Seminole County School District, 2001-2002
General Description: Dress Code (Confederate Flag)
Summary of the Issues Involved: Seminole County School District’s Superintendent ordered that any shirt bearing an image of the Confederate flag would be targeted for censorship, and students wearing such a shirt could be subject to disciplinary action. The plaintiffs, eight students who occasionally wore such shirts in the past, filed this action arguing the dress code policy violated their rights to free speech and expression. Eventually, the parties settled the case in favor of the plaintiffs and the court awarded the plaintiffs attorney’s fees.
Smith v. Cobb County Schools, 2000 - circa 2001
General Description: School Weapons Policy
Summary of the Issues Involved: The ACLU of Georgia brought this case on behalf of a student suspended from school for possession of a small chain that attached a keychain to her wallet. Under the school’s zero tolerance policy, several other students had been suspended for possession of items deemed to be weapons or possibly used as weapons. The parties reached a settlement under which the student was permitted to return to school, but her parents withdrew her from the school district and enrolled the student in a private institution.
Thomas v. Clayton County School District, 1997-2000
General Description: Searches at School
Summary of the Issues Involved: After money for a school fundraiser went missing from her classroom, a teacher, with the aid of a school resource officer, conducted a search of the students’ belongings and persons. In the course of the search, the teacher sent the male students in groups to the restroom with the resource officer to be strip-searched. The teacher allegedly performed the same search on the female students. The ACLU of Georgia filed this lawsuit on behalf of the students, arguing their right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures had been violated. After a long period of litigation, the case was decided in the plaintiffs’ favor and the search was deemed unconstitutional. The case was also known as Thomas v. Roberts and Thomas v. West Clayton Elementary School.
Tillman v. Gwinnett County Schools, 2004-2006
General Description: Dress Code
Summary of the Issues Involved: Plaintiff, a student subjected to disciplinary actions for wearing allegedly gang-related clothing to school, filed suit arguing the school’s dress code was unconstitutionally vague. Trial was set for this case, but ultimately the parties settled.